Friday, June 02, 2017

Dear Mr. Christenberry,

Of course, there is no way to be in Hale County without thinking of you. So today I went to Newbern and celebrated your work by photographing the green barn, the Newbern former warehouse (now Rural Studio – more about that to follow) and other structures that I am very familiar with through your work.

I talked to a young man from Newbern who told me, that in his childhood they would throw stones at the barn and were always wondering, why nobody cared to tear it down; they found it looked scary. They had no idea the barn was famous. That it was you who made the barn famous.

There are many of these structures still around: old bars, gas stations, and diners, cabins, shacks, and barns. Sometimes caving in, sometimes overgrown with weed and kudzu. Many of them are long forgotten, unused in their original sense, but now posing as picturesque reminders of times long gone. Reminding us of all the photographers who have delved into their specific beauty. 

I apologize.

[William Christenberry was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama – the closest bigger city to Greensboro – in 1936, the year in which Walker Evans and James Agee worked in Hale County, Alabama. He passed away in 2016, shortly after his 80th birthday.]

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